News of World Medicine

Brain scans will help to determine the probability of drug addiction in adolescents

It is known that children gaining high scores in tests on the search for novelty are prone to drug addiction. According to Zee News, scientists from Stanford University and the University Medical Center of Hamburg-Eppendorf claim that a new test allows to evaluate the risk much more accurately.

The study involved 144 adolescents who at the age of 14 had no serious problems with drugs. However, they gained high scores in tests on the search for novelty. The scientists have developed a special method. The volunteers were subjected to MRI. During this time, the participants played a simple video game. They earned points that can be converted into money afterwards.

After each round, the players were informed about how many points they could earn in the next round. Other words, the participants began to anticipate future gains. The researchers monitored the part of the brain associated with the reward. For most people, an anticipation activates the brain reward system.

The children's brain as a whole has not a strong response to anticipation as adult brain has. But this activity was even lower in the participants prone to drug addiction. Perhaps drugs inhibit the activity associated with the reward or the low brain activity makes adolescents to take drugs.

Source: Zee News